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June 2008

1. DEAR ABE:   How can we not get caught up in the trap of becoming “obsessed" or "pre-occupied" with the material possessions in our life?  Personally, I find this to be a hard commandment to follow. –AMERICAN MUSLIM

DEAR AMERICAN MUSLIM:   God does give us a general road map.  This includes observing the worship practices handed down to us through Abraham;  Salat prayers, Zakat charity, Fasting, and the Pilgrimage [1].  Other recommended practices are reading the Quran, meditation, saying God’s name over our food, commemorating God when we wake up, and when we become aware of sins ask forgiveness, and not persist in sins knowingly [2].  All of these above mentioned practices serve the function of remembering God the most and putting God first.  Thus, the way to defeating the trap of “pre-occupation” in my understanding is through practice.  All of these methods have to be practiced.  Perhaps this is why for Pharaoh, it was too little, too late to say he believed when death was upon him [3].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1]  6:161-162;  [2]  73:2-4, 73:8, 73:20, 2:153, 3:135, 3:191, 7:205, 33:41;  [3]  10:90-91, Appendix 27 of the English Quran Translation by R. Khalifa.


2. DEAR ABE:   When reading the Quran in Arabic, what is the significance of the three dots like the one found on the letter “tha” in some verses?  For example, in Al-Baqarah Chapter 2, Verse 195 we find the three-dots symbol. Are these symbols significant? – FARIDA, GREAT BRITAIN

DEAR FARIDA:   These markings relate to Arabic recitation style, only. Most Arabic Qurans will contain a page explaining the recitation markings. Regarding the three dots, there are always two sets. These dots signify obligation to pause for breathe at one of two spots [1].  Either way, the meaning would barely change. Again, this is one style of recitation- only one. If you have a good translation, such as the English translation by Rashad Khalifa, those minor nuances will be accounted for.  We know the actual message will reach anyone who is sincere, regardless of their language [2].  Thus, if one is reading the Quran for guidance, and not reciting in traditional Arabic style for groups, then is it really necessary for one to learn the symbols and their meanings?

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1]  2:195, 5:26, 2:2;  [2] 26:198-200, 56:77-79


3. DEAR ABE:  I thought that the first Verse in the Quran is "Iqra”, meaning “Read” in 96, Verse 1.  A perfect being does not need to read, and thus God would not have revealed the Verse.  Does this mean that the Quran is arranged by a human? - -PAUL, FRANCE

DEAR PAUL:  The Quran was not revealed to perfect beings, but as a revelation to us as human beings.  In this verse, God is commanding us to read his revelation and due to our own imperfections it is a very useful reminder.  The Quran was released slowly in a format that was easy to memorize. Thus, the revelation order differs from the order they appear in the Quran [1]. God recommends reading cover to cover, in that specific order. He knew what order it would be written in, and it is the best arrangement for us to read.  I also recommend reviewing the Mathematical Miracle of the Quran to determine for yourself if this revelation is indeed from God [2].  There is a lot of information regarding the Mathematical Structure, for you to “Read”, as the first Revelation declares [3].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1]  97:1, 53:1-18, 26:192-194, 2:97-99, 17:105-106, 25:32, 75:17-19, 43:3-4, 85:21-22, 73:4;  [2]  74:30-37, Appendix 1 of the English Quran Translation by R. Khalifa.

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writers, and should not be taken as the only acceptable approach. The reader is encouraged to research the topics further using the Quran.

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